Report: Apple orders 12 petabytes of storage

Apple has reportedly ordered 12 petabytes worth of storage infrastructure from Isilon Systems, presumably for the newest of its data centers. Is this just an upgrade or something larger?

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read
Isilon's S-Series cluster.
Isilon's S-Series cluster Isilon Systems

Apple is said to be beefing up its storage capacity with an order of storage equipment from Isilon Systems that tops out at 12 petabytes.

The news, which was picked up by AppleInsider earlier today, comes from a source at Isilon who told site StorageNewsletter that Apple was the buyer, and was making the purchase to "manage the video download of its customers using iTunes."

CNET has contacted Isilon for comment on the report.

EMC announced plans to acquire Isilon five months ago for $2.25 billion, a 29 percent premium on the company's stock price at the time. The company is known for going after large-scale data management projects, and has customers like Sony and Kodak, as well as media companies like ABC and XM Satellite Radio.

Before getting too excited that this is incontrovertible proof of Apple's plans to launch a storage locker for user content, it's worth noting Apple is still in the process of readying its North Caroline data center, which the company has stated will go online this spring. The company also has an existing data center facility in Newark, Calif., it purchased in 2006 that could be due for a new wave of hardware upgrades.

According to a report published by Bernstein Research last month on Apple's upcoming data center, Apple spent an estimated $1.7 billion on IT assets during fiscal year 2010. That number, the report estimates, could jump up to $2.6 billion this year. The new North Carolina facility, which is said to be 500,000 square feet, can squeeze somewhere between 95,000 to 120,000 servers, something Bernstein said could "easily" cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

StorageNewsletter's report says this 12-petabyte buy "probably" makes Apple the largest Isilon customer yet.